England suffered defeat at the hands of the Netherlands in their final friendly before Roy Hodgson picks his squad for Euro 2016, as the Three Lions struggled to reproduce their Berlin magic.
The veteran England boss has decided to name his final 23-man squad early, before the next batch of friendlies, but few of the heavily rotated starting XI impressed compared to the line-up that stunned Germany three days earlier.
After a lifeless first half that featured a touching tribute to Johan Cruyff, Jamie Vardy finally broke the deadlock just before the break to finish off an excellent team move from England, guiding Kyle Walker’s pull-back into the back of the net with ease.
The visitors – who had lost five of their last eight matches before the game – improved after the break and were granted the chance to draw level when Danny Rose handled the ball inside the box, with Vincent Janssen stepping up to dispatch the resulting spot-kick on his full debut for Danny Blind’s side.
England struggled to create chances but pushed forward in search of a winner, bringing on the likes of Harry Kane to try and find a goal, but were undone when Janssen barged over Phil Jagielka and crossed for Luciano Narsingh to rifle home.
Substitute Theo Walcott, whose place at Euro 2016 would seem to be under
increasing threat given the form of England’s forwards, proved a real handful as the hosts looked to find a winner, but Luciano Narsingh converted Janssen’s cross – after a strong challenge in the build-up – to snatch a surprise victory.
Hodgson made eight changes from Berlin, Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater turning in a composed debut performance, while Netherlands – captained by Manchester United’s Daley Blind – started with just five of the players who began the 3-2 loss to France.
England began in sluggish fashion and Rose was fortunate not to concede an early penalty when he slid in and caught Joel Veltman just inside the area, before Memphis Depay lashed a half-volley over the crossbar.
Applause rang out within Wembley in the 14th minute in tribute to Dutch great Cruyff, who died last week, and Ibrahim Afellay brought about the first save of the match soon afterwards, testing Fraser Forster from the edge of the area after good work from Quincy Promes.
Forster was at full stretch to deny Georginio Wijnaldum’s bending effort, but England, who improved their display as the half drew on, took the lead five minutes before the break.
Adam Lallana slid a fine through-ball to Walker inside the area, and his cut-back was turned into the net at the near post by Vardy from just six yards out for the 100th goal of Hodgson’s reign.
England looked lively early in the second half, but they gifted Netherlands a way back into the match when Rose flicked out an arm to block Narsingh’s cross after John Stones had slipped and lost possession, and Janssen swept the penalty high into the net.
England responded in positive fashion. Vardy rifled in a shot from 25 yards which Jeroen Zoet did well to tip over before substitute Walcott was denied by a timely block from Blind, and the Arsenal man whistled a shot just over the crossbar after a fine turn to beat Jetro Willems.
But Netherlands snatched the win in controversial fashion with 14 minutes to play, netting a goal that means they are only the second team to win twice at the new Wembley while they have not lost to England in 20 years.
Janssen was allowed to play on after barging Phil Jagielka off the ball, and he squared across goal for the unmarked Narsingh, who fired home to ensure a first home defeat since November 2013 for a disappointing England.
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